Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Information on DoLS and how to apply for authorisation.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) protect the rights of adults with a mental health condition who:

  • live in care homes or hospitals
  • are kept under continuous supervision and control at the care home or hospital by the team providing care
  • are not free to leave the care home or hospital
  • lack mental capacity to consent to being accommodated for care and/or treatment.

The safeguards apply irrespective of whether:

  • the care or treatment is being privately or publicly funded
  • the person objects to the restrictions, or is very happy in the care home or hospital.

A deprivation of liberty will only be authorised if it can be shown that it is necessary, proportionate and in the person's best interests. This will be decided following an assessment by specially trained staff.

It is the responsibility of hospitals and care homes to contact the County Council if they have concerns and need an authorised deprivation of liberty.

Supporting document

How care homes or hospitals apply for a deprivation of liberty

From the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) website, staff download, complete and sign:

  • Form 1 (Urgent and Standard Authorisation) - Authorises a deprivation of liberty for up to 14 days, starting on the day the form is signed.
  • Form 2 (Request for Further Authorisation) - For use only after previous application if DoLS already granted
  • Form 10 (Request for Review) - For requesting review during authorised DoLS.

Guidance for completing the above forms is available from the ADASS website

All forms should be sent via email or fax (not post), to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Team, who will confirm receipt of the forms.

Appealing against an authorised deprivation of liberty

Everyone who has a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation has a ‘Relevant Person’s Representative’ appointed as part of the assessment process. The representative supports the person with all aspects of the DoLS, which will include helping with appeals or requesting a review if needed.

A person subject to a DoLS authorisation is entitled to legal representation if they want to challenge their authorisation in the Court of Protection. A solicitor will be able to advise them on this process and also on the availability of Legal Aid.

Form COP DLA should be used for applications to vary or terminate a standard or urgent authorisation made by a supervisory body under Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Form available below.

Form COP DLA (GOV.UK) (external link)

Deprivation of liberty in other locations

There is a different process to authorise a deprivation of liberty when the person is not living in a hospital or a care home. For example, a person living at home with care arrangements that amount to a deprivation of liberty.

The assessor working with the person, normally a social worker, makes an application to the Court of Protection to authorise the arrangements. If the person strongly disagrees with the arrangements, the court will be made aware by the local authority. The court would then consider whether the person requires formal representation in the case at a hearing.

If the individual disputes the care provisions in place, they should get an independent solicitor for advice about possible legal challenges open to them. An advocate for the person may need to be appointed. Legal aid may be available for this action.

Last updated:
10 February 2021
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